Ashley Banas is a second year PhD graduate student in the Animal Biotechnology and Biomedical Science program at UMass Amherst. Ashley graduated magna cum laude in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Microbiology from the University of New Hampshire. While at UNH, she was involved in a number of research and clinical laboratories including Dr. Elsawa’s research laboratory where she researched the targeted effects of anti-cancer drugs on the tumor microenvironment, and the UNH COVID-19 laboratory, where she was part of the COVID-19 Testing and Logistics team.
Ashley has a passion for the biomedical sciences and is currently investigating how chronic inflammation affects DNA methylation (overall and site specific) in relation to breast cancer in Dr. Arcaro's research laboratory. Specifically, her research project investigates if long term exposure to cytokines (simulating chronic breast inflammation by mimicking physiologically relevant levels of cytokines found in breast milk of women with subclinical mastitis) will alter DNA methylation in different human mammary epithelial cell lines.
Ashley is also enthusiastic about helping others learn and understand the biomedical sciences, with a main interest in cell culture and microbiology, and shares her content knowledge with peers as a graduate teaching assistant in Dr. Arcaro’s veterinary oncology laboratory. As an undergraduate, she also enjoyed working as a teaching assistant supporting general microbiology laboratory and microbes in human disease laboratory. In her free time, Ashley enjoys snowboarding, painting, and spending time with her family and her cat Nala.